Hair loss (alopecia) can be an embarrassing or uncomfortable condition to talk about, especially for women. That being said, early diagnosis is essential for treating alopecia effectively. Making an early visit to the doctor and a timely diagnosis a patient’s best option.
Some symptoms of hair loss include hair shedding, hair falling out, hair thinning, or a receding hairline. Symptoms can be caused by genetics or shrinking follicles. Alopecia can be sudden or gradual, and the patient’s skin can be scaly or rash like.
When a patient visits the doctor, hair specialists should show male patients the Norwood Scale illustrations of hair loss and female patients the Ludwig Scale for hair loss in women. The patient's medications will be reviewed and a family history will be taken. It’s important that doctors make patients feel as comfortable as possible when discussing alopecia. A good option is to ask the patient “how is your hair doing?” or “is your hair health good?”. This opens the door for an honest conversation about the patient’s hair health without the doctor coming off as intrusive or presumptuous.
Hair loss treatment includes medications, hair transplant surgeries, bio-cellular procedures such as PRP, stress management techniques or other methods like hair pieces and alternative hair styling. Dyes can be used to cover the scalp, hairstyles can make the patient's hair appear more thick, and hairpieces can be attached to the scalp to cover any bald spots. If a patient’s individual case of alopecia isn’t severe, infrequent shampooing or conditioning may be recommended.
Treating hair loss is not always just about appearance or aesthetics. Symptoms of hair loss may also be symptoms of other more serious conditions such as lupus, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. Lab tests may be ordered to check for a thyroid condition, hormonal imbalances or anemia. Surgery, childbirth or crash diets can also lead to unwanted hair loss. Getting these symptoms checked early can be the difference between treating a simple flare up of a condition or having untreated declining health problems for a long period of time.
Alopecia is a fairly common condition, with about 80 million Americans affected by hereditary hair loss. Early diagnosis is essential for effective treatment, and patients should feel comfortable to come forward and discuss their symptoms with their physicians. Learn more about hair loss and hair restoration methods at NEhair.com and Regenerismedical.com